Remember that recession we were supposed to have? The job market appears to have forgotten.
Government data released Friday show the unemployment rates in South Dakota and New Hampshire at 1.8% — the lowest rate recorded in any state since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking individual state numbers in 1976. Two other states, Nebraska and Vermont, narrowly missed out on sharing the record; their unemployment rates stand at 1.9%.
Even the bad news has good news: Employers in Nevada, where the unemployment rate stands at a highest-in-the-nation 5.4%, added 59,000 jobs in the last year, a 4% increase and tied with Texas for the fastest job growth of the year.
Economists who once said a recession was imminent are now revising their predictions. Maybe the strong state of the states has something to do with their reassessments.
Here are nine things that happened in the states this week:
ECONOMY: States are earning hundreds of millions of extra dollars in interest on cash holdings and short-term investments as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The additional cash is small in comparison to their overall budgets, but it could help cover the rising costs of government services, experts said. Illinois, for one, earned 13 times more on interest than the year before. (Pluribus News)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Louisiana lawmakers overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (R) veto of legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors. The legislature failed to override Edwards’s veto of legislation preventing transgender students from using alternate pronouns and barring discussion of gender and sexuality in schools. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
A federal judge has issued an order blocking a Florida law targeting drag shows, ruling that the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is likely unconstitutional. An Orlando burger bar challenged the law on First Amendment grounds. (WLRN)
A federal judge has temporarily blocked Arizona from enforcing a law banning transgender girls from school sports teams that conform to their gender identity. The lawsuit mirrors successful challenges in other states, where laws have been blocked over Title IX and equal protection claims. (Associated Press)
ABORTION: An Iowa judge on Monday temporarily blocked a newly-passed ban on abortion at six weeks, though Judge Joseph Seidlin said the state Board of Medicine should proceed with creating rules to enforce the measure if his ruling is overturned. (Associated Press)
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signed four bills relating to reproductive rights. The measures expand access to contraceptives, protect abortion providers against legal action from other states and safeguard online health data. One of the measures allows pharmacists to prescribe emergency or hormonal contraception. (CTMirror)
EDUCATION: Lamont also signed legislation requiring high school students to take a financial literacy course before graduating. The state Board of Education will develop curriculum to teach banking, investing, saving and the impact of credit cards. (CT Mirror)
SPORTS: Missouri high school athletes will be allowed to sign endorsement deals once they have signed a letter of intent to attend an in-state college. The amendment to the state’s name, image and likeness law, making it one of the most permissive in the country, takes effect Aug. 28. (Kansas City Star)
PUBLIC HEALTH: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has signed legislation creating a Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Authority to manage programs aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality. New Jersey is one of four states where maternal health improved over the last year, according to the March of Dimes. (New Jersey Globe)
ENERGY: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Thursday he will push lawmakers next year to create a commission to cap oil and gas profits, similar to new legislation California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed in March. Gas prices in Washington State stand at an average of $4.93 a gallon, the highest in the nation. (Pluribus News)
VOTING: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation requiring at least nine days of early voting in future elections. Clerks can begin providing early in-person voting up to 29 days before an election, and they can begin tabulating ballots before Election Day. The new laws codify a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2022. (Detroit News)
POLITICS: Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers (R) will leave his post on Aug. 6, fueling speculation he is considering a run for governor. Chambers would face U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R), Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R), businessman Eric Doden (R) and former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) in an increasingly crowded GOP primary field. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Candidates running for seats in Virginia’s General Assembly have raised $56 million so far this year, up 43% over the same period four years ago. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has raised more than $5.9 million through a PAC, a record sum for a Virginia governor. (Washington Post)
The Arizona Democratic Party has filed a complaint with Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) seeking to force No Labels to disclose its donors. Democrats say the group should have registered as a PAC while it was collecting signatures to qualify as an official party seeking ballot access. (Arizona Republic)
No Labels has submitted a sufficient number of signatures to qualify for Arkansas’s 2024 ballot, Secretary of State John Thurston’s (R) office said Thursday. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)